Most clinical laboratory testing in Kampala occurs in high-volume, high-quality laboratories or low-volume, low-quality laboratories: A tale of two cities

Timothy K. Amukele, Lee F. Schroeder, J. Brooks Jackson, Ali Elbireer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objectives: To describe key characteristics (laboratory quality, test volumes, and complexity) of clinical laboratories in Kampala, Uganda (population ∼1.7 million). Methods: Cross-sectional survey using a standard questionnaire to document laboratory type and quality, as well as test menus and volumes. Quality was based on the World Health Organization-Africa Region checklist. Results: Of the 954 laboratories identified (a density of one laboratory per 1,781 persons), 779 (82%) performed only simple kit tests or light microscope examinations. The 95% (907/954) of laboratories for whom volumes were obtained performed an average aggregate of 13,189 tests daily, for a test utilization rate of around 2 tests per individual per year. Laboratories could be segregated into eight groups based on quality, test volume, and complexity. However, 90% of the testing was performed by just two groups: (1) low-volume (≤100 tests daily), low-quality laboratories performing simple tests or (2) high-volume (>100 tests daily), high-quality laboratories. Each of these two groups did 45% of the daily testing volume (90% combined). Conclusions: Clinical laboratory density in Kampala (1/1,781 persons) is high, approaching that in the United States (1/1,347 persons). Low-volume/low-quality and high-volume/high-quality laboratories do 90% of the daily aggregate testing. Quality improvement (QI) schemes for Africa must be appropriate to low-volume laboratories as well as to the large laboratories that have been the focus of previous QI efforts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)50-56
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican journal of clinical pathology
Volume143
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2015

Keywords

  • Africa
  • Global health
  • Laboratory
  • Point of care
  • Quality improvement
  • Test utilization
  • Uganda
  • Volume

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine

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